Jimmy Fallon’s hilariously spot-on impersonations of Neil Young had already created a video viral sensation, but for his latest, he was joined by a very special guest.
Jimmy Fallon’s hilariously spot-on impersonations of Neil Young had already created a video viral sensation, but for his latest, he was joined by a very special guest.
I don’t remember the first time I met Ronni Chasen--it would have been sometime after I moved from New York to Los Angeles to become Billboard’s West Coast Bureau Chief in 1998--but I do know that once she was in my professional life, she was a near constant figure...until Tuesday, when her life came to a devastatingly horrible end after someone fired five bullets into her chest on Sunset Blvd.
Ronni was unlike anyone I’d ever met. She seemed almost like a caricature -- a Broadway Danny Rose of the press world. She was a throwback to what seemed like an earlier time. In a world that now relies on email, she was an old-school press agent whose assistant placed her calls. She pushed relentlessly for her clients, primarily soundtrack composers in my case, and believed in them with an unwavering passion and commitment. She’d come at you--in her rapid fire, nasally voice-- pummeling you with a pitch, but she never held a grudge if you said no. She never wanted to burn a bridge since she knew she’d be crossing it again with another request very soon.
She seemingly knew everyone. Shortly after I’d moved to Los Angeles, she invited me to the “Message in a Bottle” premiere. We were at the after party and I mentioned I had a huge crush on Kevin Costner, who starred in the film. Before I could even make sure I still had lipstick on, she’d marched us both over to Costner. He greeted her with a big hug, and the next thing I knew, she’d introduced us and I stammering out something about how much “Bull Durham” was one of my all-time favorite movies. She was a fixture at industry events with her dark pants suits, shellacked ash-blonde hair always perfectly in place, and tinted glasses.
Even though her pitches often left me exhausted, they were always well-informed, and I was tremendously fond of Chasen and found her more endearing than annoying for several reasons. Ronni and her team, including Jeff Sanderson and Alana Kass--were among the most professional publicists I ever worked with. I cannot think of a single time that they pitched me on a story and, if I bit, they did not deliver. Ever. Additionally, in a way that few publicists are these days, Ronni was a tremendous advocate for her clients. She was always looking for ways to shoehorn them into stories if she couldn’t land a stand-alone feature on them. She was relentless. If I was on deadline and didn’t pick up her phone call, within the half hour, there would be an email from her, usually dictated to an assistant, explaining the reason for the call. And then another call. One of the few times she ever got irritated with me is when I went directly to one of her clients for an interview. I got a quick call reminding me that she represented the studio executive. I never went around her again. Unlike with many publicists who act solely as gatekeepers, there was no need to circumvent Ronni.
There’s another reason I’ll always remember Ronni fondly: After I left Billboard in 2006, she was one of the few publicists who pursued me as vigorously to pitch stories--and to invite me to events--as when I was still at the magazine. She bet on the person, not the position, and as my freelance world expanded, I never forgot the faith she’d shown in me. Our last story together through her company--a feature on Trent Reznor and his score for “The Social Network” --comes out today, Nov. 17, in Variety.
I also occasionally socialized with Ronni. She, I and two other female friends--a platinum recording artist and a manager with amazing bloodlines-- would go out for dinner. The reason I mention the other women’s pedigrees, is that even with their illustrious backgrounds, Chasen’s stories topped everyone’s and we loved every minute of it and happily relinquished the floor. She’d forget about pitching and for a few hours, we’d gab and gossip. Every subject was on the table and off the record. We talked about everything and her ribald, acerbic sense of humor had us in stitches. I never left one of those dinners without a huge smile on my face and would be chuckling for days afterwards as I’d recall some outrageous story. Ronni had a great book in her that will now never be told. It’s the dinners I will miss the most.
New details have emerged on Bruce Springsteen’s appearance on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” tonight, Nov. 16.As we posted last week, "Fallon" will be his only television performance to promote his new boxed set, “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story,” out today.
Springsteen will bring E Street guitarist Steve Van Zandt and keyboardist Roy Bittan with his performance with the Roots, “Late Night’s” house band. The Boss is the only guest booked for the hour, which starts at 12:35 on NBC, and is expected to play two songs.
Apple wants to hold the Beatlesâ€™ hands. After years of negotiations, Appleâ€™s iTunes is set to announce the addition of the Fab Fourâ€™s catalog to its download service, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Talks have been ongoing between Apple, the Beatles representatives at Apple Corps. (which sued Apple for several years over infringement); and EMI, the owner of much of the Beatlesâ€™ catalog. Earlier today, Apple added the following announced to the iTunes homepage: â€œTomorrow is just another day that youâ€™ll never forget.â€ The announcement is set for 10 a.m. EST.Â
Maybe weâ€™re reading too much into it, but â€œjust another day,â€ is, of course, a phrase from â€œAnother Day,â€ a song added onto the CD version ofÂ Paul McCartneyâ€™s â€œRamâ€ album. McCartneyâ€™s solo material and his work with Wings are already on iTunes.
There are still a number of high profile holdouts when it comes to iTunes, including Garth Brooks, AC/DC and Kid Rock.
Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance will both be hitting the road in 2011 and both bands are offering incentives to fans who purchase tickets early.
Linkin Park, whose album, “A Thousand Suns” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 earlier this year, will start its 2011 trek Jan. 20 at the Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla. Also on the bill on various dates are The Prodigy, Pendulum and Does It Offend You, Yeah. Fans will be also be able to download a live recording of the show they attend by texting a code from their mobile phones that will change with every concert. For more information, go to www.linkinpark.com.
Fans will have to wait a little longer for MCR’s tour, which starts April 1 at Portland, Ore.’s Roseland Theater. Registered fans on the band’s website who buy tickets via a presale will receive a free digital copy of the band’s new album, “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” which streets on Nov. 22. More details are available at www.mychemicalromance.com/tour.
Dates for Linkin Park’s 2011 tour:
Jan 20 Sunrise, FL @ Bank Atlantic Center
Jan 22 Tampa, FL @ St Pete Times Forum
Jan 23 Atlanta, GA @ Phillips Arena
Jan 25 Detroit, MI @ Joe Louis Arena
Jan 26 Chicago, IL @ United Center
Jan 28 Minneapolis, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
Jan 29 Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Jan 31 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
Feb 1 Boston, MA @ TD Garden
Feb 4 New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
Feb 7 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
Feb 8 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
Feb 10 Washington DC @ Verizon Center
Feb 11 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun
with The Prodigy:
Feb 15 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center
Feb 17 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
Feb 19 Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Grand – Garden Arena
Feb 20 San Diego @ Viejas Arena
Feb 23 Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center
Feb 25 Salt Lake City, UT @ Energy Solutions Arena
Feb 26 Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
Dates for My Chemical Romance’s The World Contamination Tour:
1st Portland, OR Roseland Theatre
2nd Vancouver, BC Center for Performing Arts
3rd Seattle, WA Showbox Sodo
5th Edmonton, AB Edmonton Event Centre
6th Calgary, AB MacEwan Hall
8th Salt Lake City In the Venue
9th Denver, CO Fillmore
10th Des Moines, IA Val Air Ballroom
12th Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
13th Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom
15th Chicago, IL Aragon *
17th Cleveland, OH House Of Blues
20th Montreal, QC Metropolis
22nd New York, NY Terminal 5
5th Boston, MA House Of Blues
6th Philadelphia, PA Tower Theater *
7th Sayreville, NJ Starland Ballroom
10th Washington, DC 9:30 Club
11th Atlanta, GA The Tabernacle
17th West Palm Bch, FL Revolution
18th Orlando, FL House Of Blues
20th Houston, TX House Of Blues **
21st Dallas, TX House Of Blues **
24th Phoenix, AZ Marquee
Has it really to come to this? Michael Jackson, one of the most popular singers of all times, needs an intro like Jason Derulo?
“Hold My Hand,” his collaboration with Akon, opens with an “Akon, MJ” shout-out that instantly dates it and, somehow, cheapens it. However, that’s nothing like the cold-splash-of-water opening line with Jackson singing, in a bit of tragic foreshadowing, “This life don’t last forever.” Who knew that two years later, he would be dead?
That’s the bad news, the good news is the song, the new posthumous Jackson collaboration with Akon, is a sweet tribute to friendship and solidarity when the darkness comes. Its “united we stand, divided we fall” ethos works well. There’s also a bit of a romance theme, if you want to go there, about letting Akon be “your one and only” until the morning comes, but mainly, it’s a salute to being there for each other.
The chorus is redolent of Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand,” embellished with strings and swirls. The song ends with some trademark Jackson hoots and hollers, but, quite frankly, they could have been lifted from any MJ song (like “Man in the Mirror”) over the last 30 years. Jackson and Akon originally began working on the track in 2007. An unfinished version leaked after Jackson's death. The final version opens strong with Jackson, but he resorts to a featured role as the song goes on. It follows another new track, "Breaking News," which radio began playing two weeks ago.
The song, from the Dec. 14 album, “Michael,” is a nice effort, but more in the “Oh, isn’t that sweet” way rather than in any kind of groundbreaking, “we have to have it” way.
Listen for yourself here.
What do you think? Is "Hold My Hand" worthy of the King of Pop?
As Black Friday approaches, expect a landslide of releases. This week alone, we have new sets from “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze, Josh Groban, Kid Rock, Rihanna and Nelly, as well as holiday sets from the “Glee” cast and Annie Lennox. Plus, Bruce Springsteen’s “The Promise” celebrates his masterpiece, “Darkness on the Edge of Town,” 32 years after its initial release.
Lee DeWyze, “Live It Up” (19 Recordings): Season 9 “American Idol” winner explores different aspects of relationships on his post-”Idol” major label debut.
Jackie Evancho, “O Holy Night” (Syco/Columbia) “America’s Got Talent” runner up showcases her preternaturally-evolved pipes on this CD/DVD combo featuring classical crossover tunes she performed on the show as well as a few holiday favorites.
Josh Groban, “Illuminations” (143/Reprise): Classical crossover pop sensation links with unlikely bedfellow Rick Rubin for his fifth album. Rubin pushed him to stretch his boundaries, but not break them in this mainly self-penned effort.
Kid Rock, “Born Free” (Atlantic/Top Dog): Rick Rubin chips in again here as Kid Rock follows up his 3.2 million-selling “Rock N Roll Jesus” with this Nashville-inflected effort that includes collaborations with Martina McBride, T.I. and others.
Annie Lennox, “A Christmas Cornucopia” (Decca): Silver-throated British singer interprets a number of holiday standards, as well as weighs in with her original composition, “Universal Child.”
Nelly, “5.0” (Derrty/Universal Motown): After a bit of a career slip, Nelly returned with first single, “Just a Dream,” his highest-charting hit in five years. Guests on “5.0” include Chris Brown, Plies, T.I., Akon, Kelly Roland and Keri Hilson.
Pink, “Greatest Hits...So Far!!!” (LaFace): Singer’s best-of collection includes such hits as “Get the Party Started, “ “Just Like a Pill,” and “Trouble,” as well as two new tunes, among them, new hit “Raise Your Glass.”
Rascal Flatts, “Nothing Like This” (Big Machine): Country superstar trio takes flight on new label, Big Machine, but the song remains the same--more pop-influenced country with often catchy, upbeat melodies.
Rihanna, “Loud” (SRP/Def Jam): Ri-Ri has already scored two top 5 tunes, “What’s My Name” and “Only Girl in the World,” from her new upbeat set that seems to be a return to form after the dark “Rated R.”
Bruce Springsteen, “The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story” (Columbia): The 3 CD/3 DVD collection examines every facet of Springsteen’s classic 1978 dark opus, including 21 never-before-released outtakes from the album, two live DVDs and a documentary about the making of the album.
Keith Urban, “Get Closer” (Capitol Nashville): Country star from the land down under’s seventh studio album features artwork voted on by his fans, all of whom will surely want the deluxe version available through Target.
Various Artists, “Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album” (Columbia): The kids from New Directions take on the holidays in what is sure to be a blockbuster. The song selection rangers from the traditional, such as “Angels We Have Heard on High” to more recent classics, like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
Justin Bieber shows his sensitive side on “Pray,” the only new song on his forthcoming “My Worlds Acoustic” album.
The song is a prayer for the world as he tosses and turns during a sleepless night while he contemplates the horrors that he sees on TV: “children are crying, soldiers are dying, some people don’t have a home.” He wants to know how “I can make a change.”
It’s an uplifting anthem that’s totally age appropriate and may encourage Beliebers to question how they can give back. We can also see church youth groups across the globe waving their hands back and forth in the air as they sing along.
We’re a little curious about the line “I pray for the life not started,” could be construed as some kind of pro-life statement. It doesn’t seem like he’d take on such a lightning rod issue, but maybe he feels strongly about the topic already. Plus, some non-religious parents may object to their children being told to pray.
It’s easy to be cynical about Justin Bieber, but as someone who remembers clearly her crushes when she was 10 or so on teen idols, I’m totally Team Bieber. Sure, there are kids at that age who are already into acts like My Chemical Romance, but for lots of girls, Bieber is their gateway to more sophisticated music and he’s making music just for them. When the message is as positive as this one, what can be wrong with that?
"My Worlds Acoustic," out Nov. 26, includes nine acoustic versions of songs from "My World" and "My World 2.0" as well as "Pray." It is available through WalMart and Bieber's website.
It’s a far cry from her opening salvo of 701,000 last year with “I Dreamed a Dream,” but Susan Boyle will come in at No. 1 next week on the BIllboard 200 with her holiday set, “The Gift.”
The collection is poised to sell up to 275,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double. There’s a slight chance that Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” will retain the top spot for the third week in a row if she receives a surge from her CMA Awards performance of “Back to December.” Swift’s slated to sell up to 250,000, which will move “Speak Now” past the 1.6 million mark in three weeks.
New releases dot the Top 10 as Kid Cudi’s “Man on the Moon ll: The Legend of Mr. Rager” could also top the 200,000 mark.
After that, sales drop off drastically as as much as 100,000 copies separate Kid Cudi’s No. 3 entry from “Now 36’s” No. 4 bow with sales of around 85,000 units. Jason Aldean’s “My Kinda Party” will likely drop 2 to 5, while Bon Jovi’s “Greatest Hits” launches at No. 6 (after coming in at No. 1 across Europe) and Reba McEntire’s latest, “All the Woman I Am,” starts at No. 7.
The viral success of Cee Lo’s “F*** You” (and the clean radio version, “Forget You”) aren’t enough to lift the artist’s “The Lady Killer” into the Top 10. Right now, it looks like the album will have to settle for No. 11.
In only two weeks, Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” has become the fifth biggest selling album of 2010. The singer’s third album has surpassed the 1.4 million mark. The only question is if it can catch Eminem’s “Recovery” for the top seller of the year.
But she’s not the only female artist with reason to celebrate this week. Both Miranda Lambert and Rihanna reach new career heights.
1) Taylor Swift (two weeks ago, No. 1): She spends another week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and becomes the youngest artist to even win the country songwriter of the year award from BMI. Other young’uns who won the award? Bill Anderson when he was 23 and Johnny Cash when he was 24 in 1956. She’s in good company.
2) Miranda Lambert (not ranked):There’s a new country queen and her name’s Miranda. Lambert snares three awards at this week’s CMA Awards, including the coveted album of the year. Also not too shabby: her fiance, Blake Shelton, takes home two. We want to celebrate with them.
3) Rihanna (not ranked): After throwing fans a curveball with “Rated R,” Rihanna seems back on track as she scores her 8th No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 as “What’s My Name” jumps 59 spaces to No. 1, while “Only Girl (in the World)” lands at No. 4.
4) “Glee” (not ranked): Gleeks rejoice: The show’s rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” is set to sell as many as 175,000 copies this week, making it the second best sales week for a “Glee” single since the hit show’s first single, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’,” in May 2009.
5) Michael Jackson (No. 3): Almost a year and a half after his death, his estate announces plans of an album of new material, simply titled “Michael.” Projected first week sales of the Dec. 14 album are 400,000 copies. King of Pop indeed.
6) Roger Faxon (not ranked): Following owner Terra Firma’s loss in its lawsuit against Citigroup, EMI titan tries to quell concerns among the rank and file by insisting that the company is in no danger of bankruptcy or of selling off individual divisions.
7) Garth Brooks (No. 5): The country superstar sells out nine shows in Nashville, raising $3.5 million for flood relief.
8) Queen (not ranked): Twenty years after lead singer Freddie Mercury’s death, Queen signs a new album deal with Universal Music Group. Plus, with Sasha Baron Cohen set to play Mercury in a biopic. As Queen continues to rock us.
9) Thirty Seconds to Mars (not ranked): In topsy-turvy world, the Jared Leto-led band beats Linkin Park, Kings of Leon and Muse for best rock band at MTV Europe Music Awards.
10) Kanye West (not ranked): Taylor Swift can rest easy, Kanye has a new target: The “Today” Show. After a confrontational interview with Matt Lauer, West cancels a performance on the morning show...although the rapper tweets the performance was never a go.